For 425 years, people have been looking for 115 missing British colonists. They simply vanished from their nascent settlement in the New World on Roanoke Island without a trace, and now clues to the fate of the Lost Colony may finally have been discovered.
The Lost Colony was England’s first in the New World, and got its start in 1587. It disappeared some time after its leader — John White — went back to Europe to get supplies. When he returned in 1590, everyone was gone, but had left behind cryptic messages (“Croatoan” and “Cro”) etched on a post and a tree, National Geographic reported.
Since they vanished, theories as to their fate have abounded — disease, bad weather, or Indian attacks could’ve done them in, the Virginian-Pilot reported. Or, perhaps they joined Native Americans and lived on.
Clues have now surfaced, though not everyone is convinced it reveals anything about the vanished Lost Colony. The working theory at the moment is that the 115 colonists went their separate ways — two groups of them assimilated with the Natives, but kept their possessions.
And now it’s their possessions that are providing some critical evidence and they’ve been found at two possible sites: one on Hatteras Island, 50 miles from their original settlement, and the second on the mainland near a possible fort. The items are distinctive as clues because some aren’t trade goods, but appear to be personal effects.
The Hatteras site is at Cape Creek, which was a Croatoan town and trade hub — the Croatoans were the local Natives.
At this site, researchers have uncovered these tantalizing hints: a sword hilt, broken English bowls and German stoneware, a slate writing tablet, a crucible, peach pit (native to the Old World, and brought by settlers to America), parts of a gun that appear to have been made in Elizabethan England, and a ten-carat gold signet ring engraved with a prancing lion. That one was most likely owned by an English nobleman.
These curious clues were mixed in with artifacts dating much later. However, the few hints that members of the Lost Colony may have been there suggests they kept their things as they adopted Indian ways and were assimilated into the group.
Then there is the watercolor map drawn by White in 1585, which holds a symbol that marked an inland fort. This could also have been the destination of the men, women, and children who vanished.
Investigators searched an area nearby — a native town called Mettaquem — where they found lots of Indian pottery. At a site close by, they also found English pottery that was similar to some found on Roanoke Island and later at Jamestown. English settlers aren’t confirmed to have arrived there until 1655, making this find one of the more curious clues indeed.
Some local sleuths have also put forward another theory — that they vanished in search of greener pastures, or in this case, sassafras, the Pilot added.
There are maps, on-site evidence, and written and oral accounts that suggest everyone may have relocated 50 miles away to harvest and sell this commodity — believed to cure anything and apparently very profitable at the time — off Hatteras Island to England. White, and even Queen Elizabeth, may have been involved, according to Fred Willard, director of the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research.
His theory holds that the colonists were incorporated into the native population as they plied their secret sassafras trade. A century later, accounts surface from Natives with gray eyes who said they had white ancestors who could read.
But detractors contend these finds prove nothing, only what historians already know — Natives scooped up European treasures all the time. These artifacts only further prove that fact.
Archaeologists recently uncovered some details about the colonists of Jamestown, as the Inquisitr previously reported.
[Photo Courtesy Twitter]